BBC Monitoring Service
Jun 15, 2001
Text of unattributed editorial, entitled: "Four years have passed" published by Iranian newspaper Siyasat-e Ruz on 6 June
Now that we are in the final months of Mr Khatami's government, it would not be a bad idea to have a cursory look at the actions of the government in the past four years. Mr Khatami put "political development" as the main axis of his work. The other general topics such as economics, cultural and social issues were placed on the fringes. He would only delve into those issues up to the point that he himself thought was necessary.
In the area of the economy, as is obvious to most people, the government has not had an acceptable record. There were two differing views in the cabinet, which constantly pushed and struggled against each other. Now that four years have gone since the formation of Mr Khatami's government, these two differing views are still fighting with one another. The government's economic policy is still not clear. The Central Bank is pursuing a completely free policy based on the policies of the IMF and the World Bank. On the other hand the Ministry of Economy and Finance would prefer another policy and another method.
The net result of these differing views has meant that the country's wheels of production have gone on a downward slide. Every once in a while another factory joins the list of other factories that have been closed down or about to be closed down, their workers swelling the numbers of the unemployed.
Not having an economic programme has meant that despite an increase in the price of oil on the world market and the injection of billions of petro-dollars into the country's economy, unfortunately nothing has been done in terms of getting the factories going or any other major construction work. The path to employment continues to remain closed. As a result of not having an economic programme, high prices and inflation have broken the backs of different classes in society, especially those with fixed salaries. The people are facing many difficulties meeting their everyday needs. Of course we must not forget that during this period, there have been plans, welfare and industrial projects that have been inaugurated, which are now working, but these were the projects that had been started by the previous administration.
In the field of culture, again the government has unfortunately not had a clear and defined programme. In effect in an unofficial statement, it has given permission for people to do whatever they want, resulting in cultural chaos. We see the unpleasant consequence of this action in society and in the behaviour of various sectors of society.
Now we have to look at the field of politics, since the government placed "political development" at the centre of its work. We need to see to what extent we have gone up the ladder of progress. Did four years of continuous bashing on the drums of political progress increase our nation's political growth? Unfortunately here the government has not had any success either. Not only that, the net result of activities in pursuit of political development has been negative, causing a kind of political disillusionment in society, especially among thinkers and ideologues.
When people thought of "political development" they expected to see an increase in their political understanding and their power of analysis with regard to various local and international political issues. They expected to be able to criticize and analyse various views in a calm atmosphere, away from tension. In effect, they expected "political development" to be like a classroom to them, and unfortunately in that regard the people's expectations came to nothing. Political development turned into factional in-fighting over group and party political interests. In the past four years there has been nothing but tension between political parties and groups and these political clashes have been dragged into schools and universities, stopping the wheels of learning and academics in the country.
Unfortunately "political development" resulted in the development of certain groups and political parties and the result of this harsh and fanatical party political view has been that management in executive offices has changed from top to bottom. In some offices even the tea-boys and the cleaners were changed because they had not voted for a particular candidate of a particular group or party. From the phrase "political development" they only understood those sections that strengthened their own group or party and the sections that allowed them to damage the opposing faction with all sorts of labels and accusations to push it out of the way. In conclusion it is necessary to say one thing and that is that all of these things were done within the framework of a programme, which was "not having a programme at all!"
The government of Mr Khatami did not have a programme to run the country. Today, instead of presenting programmes and stressing on efficiency, he is insisting and the political parties and groups that support him are insisting on emotions. They are trying in this way to attract the public's votes. One must also not forget that when a government does not have a programme, it is natural that others, who are after their own special interests and benefits, will devise programmes for it and each group, or individual or movement would want to realize their own goals.